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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Will Google's Plus One Button Fly?

48 Mini Metal Smiley Smile Face Button PinsOf course it will, it has to. Webmasters, bloggers and publishers need to have that certain validation that could only be derived from numbers and statistics. The International Business Times has even invented a day for it, in the form of the "Happy Button Day".

Of course, it's also going to be an essential item for the SEO conscious types. Who knows, there might even be a "Buy Google Plus One" service sometime in the near future.

UPDATE: June 3, 2011

However, a discussion I recently had with Ian Rountree and Suzanne Vara made me rethink my position. To be sure, their points are very valid. It's definitely true that the number of buttons that the end user has to click are becoming an incessant chore. Aside from Facebook Likes and Twitter Retweets, we also have to contend with Digg, Google Buzz, LinkedIn sharing, Stumbling and other social bookmarking options.

Any SEO inclined publisher would definitely have his hands full with all of the buttons available.

Ian very accurately portrayed the situation with this tweet,

"Like so many SEO considerations, this only applies if "the masses" use it. Otherwise, it becomes a dead element."


That said, I think that there are two factors that would become very important when it comes to the success of the +1 button and consequently Google's social initiatives. Time and traffic. The yet to be answered questions will be:

  • Will adding the +1 button to a site increase traffic or not?
  • How will competitors utilize this button, would they resort to nefarious tactics such as the ones involving the commercial purchase of Facebook Likes? Would there be "buy plus one services"?
  • Let's say a person does a search on "turnips" and finds turnips.com with many resources about turnips, but consequently does not get that much +1s, because moreturnips.com has more +1s, would moreturnips.com be on top of the rankings?

At this juncture, there are more questions than answers. For sure, content publishers and SEO specialists would have to factor in the effects of the +1 button on their search rankings and consequently the amount of traffic that they would derive.

It definitely depends on the end users themselves on which sharing service would be the one that they'd prefer. For instance, the decreasing popularity of digg.com, and the rising number of empty digg buttons on heavily trafficked sites, would eventually force webmasters to remove them for the 0s unsightliness. Why keep them there when nobody uses them.

For Google, the entire Internet is still an ongoing experiment for its social initiatives. Much remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Lifehacker.com, reports on a chrome extension that can let you see the number of Google +1's a site has.



Testing +1 vs Like


To somewhat gauge how the +1 button is faring, we're going to take a look at the numbers of the more prominent blogs and websites and see how much the two are gaining traction. Note however, that Facebook's Like button is likely to have more numbers for the simple fact that it's been there longer, or maybe because it's much easier to say "Like it" than "Plus One It".


Let's start with Mashable.com. I saw the button as early as yesterday, June 1, 2011.

Valid as of June 2, 2011 - 11 AM EDT
More to come... Tweet me for tips and other sites you'd like me to include.

UPDATE: 


Techcrunch


Techcrunch Article: June 3, 2011
Note the number of diggs that it got.
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